Why Falcons Coach Arthur Smith Was So Angry About Saints’ Late TD

Why Falcons Coach Arthur Smith Was So Angry About Saints’ Late TD article feature image

Perry Knotts/Getty Images. Pictured: Jamaal Williams #21 of the New Orleans Saints.

When unwritten rules in sports are broken, it typically leads to some outrageous reactions. The unwritten rule in question on this Sunday: running up the score. This is generally a surefire way to get the opposing team and coach upset, but this situation was even more unique.

The Saints scored 24 unanswered points against the Falcons in the second half of the critical game in which the winner would have a shot at the playoffs and the division and the loser would be eliminated from playoff contention. With the Falcons trailing 41-17, there wasn't much hope for a comeback and when backup quarterback Logan Woodside threw an interception that was returned to Atlanta's 1-yard line, the Saints could just take a knee and let the clock run.

So of course this happened on the following play.

Yes, the Saints, out of the victory formation, ran the ball for a touchdown to go up by 30 points in a game they had in hand.

The reason? According to Matthew Paras who covers the Saints for the New Orleans Times Picayune, Saints players wanted to get Williams a touchdown this season because he led the league in scored last season. Jamaal Williams entered the game with zero touchdowns on the season on 92 carries.

While it was meaningless to the score and clearly broke the unwritten rules of football, anyone who bet Williams to score a touchdown was rejoicing — his odds to score a touchdown were +130 and his odds to score the last touchdown were +650.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was livid during the postgame handshake with Saints head coach Dennis Allen and had choice words for his opposing coach.

Allen told reporters the play was "unacceptable" in the postgame press conference and said the players decided to run the ball instead of taking a knee.

"I’m gonna start by apologizing to Arthur Smith and the Falcons," Allen said. “That’s not who we are, not what we’re about.”

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